How to Handle Conflict with Managers: 5 Tips | Pollack Peacebuilding


When you get people together for the sake of a stressful work-related mission, tensions can easily be flared. Different personalities, ideologies, and expectations can sometimes clash so abruptly that conflict becomes inevitable. But facing a conflict situation in the workplace doesn’t have to be all bad. There are ways to work toward a resolution that could, in fact, improve relationships moving forward. And yes, this does include figuring out how to handle conflict with managers.

How to Handle Conflict with Managers: 5 Tips

Any conflict situation in the workplace can be difficult, though some can feel trickier to navigate than others. Finding yourself at odds with the boss isn’t as unforgiving a situation as you might think. Depending on the manager and his or her leadership capabilities, this could turn out to be a team-building experience for both of you. Still, learning how to handle conflict with managers can be tough to navigate at first because of the power dynamic which inherently makes this dispute different than one between you and a peer. Here are some ways to address the issue with the utmost professionalism:

1. Stop and Take a Step Back

The first thing you need to do when things get heated during a conflict with manager at work is to take a step back. Pausing, breathing, and getting some perspective can help you apply empathy rather than rage. Recognize that you and your boss may simply have a different way of seeing things and you might not necessarily agree, but that doesn’t mean it’s personal.

2. Communicate Effectively

There are countless roadblocks to communication that can interrupt a positive, flowing work relationship. That’s why it’s important to take as many proactive steps as you can to speak up once things start to veer off course so things don’t bubble up over time. Speak clearly, respectfully, and without blame. Focus your attention on stating the facts and how you feel in response to that rather than leading with “you” statements that only imply someone else is at fault. It’s important to stay proactive when trying to manage conflict resolution at work.

3. Remain Mindful

When learning how to handle conflict with managers, you also have to learn a degree of awareness that can make or break the exchange. Be aware of how you feel and what cues you may be receiving from your boss. While your emotions are high, they’re less likely to control your behavior if you can name and acknowledge them. Validating your own emotions can help quell their instincts to hijack the conversation. Plus it’ll help calm your mind just enough to be able to read the energy in the room so you can avoid saying things that will simply fuel the flame.

4. Think Like a Boss

During conflict with manager at work, it’s important to remain respectful. But to go one step further than respect, it can be a great benefit to you to use this opportunity to demonstrate your leadership skills. Being conscientious about finding a resolution at work during an argument can set you above others and actually wind up working in your favor. Conflict management is among the most important leadership skills and job interview tools, so use this opportunity to gain some professional advantages rather than squander it all under emotional response.

5. Avoid Gossiping

It’s important to avoid bringing other people into the conflicts you have at work, especially if they involve your employer. While the maintenance of company culture is not your burden alone, as a contributor to the office culture, you can make a big but negative impact by gossiping or speaking badly about your manager in the heat of the moment.

If you need additional help navigating how to handle conflict with managers, it might be time to reach out to the conflict resolutions experts of Pollack Peacebuilding Solutions. They can arm you with the tools you need to improve your leadership skills, prevent conflict, and help you feel confident to manage it when it does arise.

How to handle conflict with managers

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